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Make Your Distraction Useful

The process of essay writing, coursework or exam preparation is a difficult quest, requiring students to put a lot of mental efforts to finish the task before the deadline. Some papers, like Master’s or Doctoral dissertation, need you to spend weeks and months of your time to complete them properly. Of course, your mind needs some distraction in order to avoid exhaustion.  

Distracted Student

So, how can you use time of your distraction effectively?

Yes, everyone wants to be able to do that. But psychologists and neurobiologists say opposite things.

Useful Distraction: Opinion of Psychologists

Sometimes, you should waste some time. This will increase your creativity.

This was the conclusion made by California University psychologist Jonathan Schooler. He stated that simple external tasks that make your brain distract can stimulate your creative thinking when you are facing a certain problem.

Schooler and his colleagues did an experiment to prove their theory. First, the participants had to think out how to use regular things originally, and then they wrote a basic test. After that scientists divided participants into four groups. The first group came back to the previous task at once. The second one got a difficult memory task to complete. The third group was asked to solve an easy task and they could distract a bit. And the fourth group could rest before coming back to the first task.

Finally, the best result was shown by the third group. The possibility to get distracted was the reason for people to become more creative. Schooler said the most wondering thing was that the easy task was more effective than doing nothing. Scientists supposed that minds of participants didn’t have to concentrate on one thing, and this was the reason for their creativeness to get improved.

So, if you feel it difficult to go on writing an essay or a dissertation, find yourself any less important task to relax a bit, but do not let yourself rest completely. Try to read, go in for sports or do some exercises, or create an intro for a student blog article about learning languages. Your thoughts replace each other fast, and this process causes creative ideas to appear.

Can You Really Distract Usefully?

Researchers from the Netherlands made similar conclusions. According to their data, it is easier for people to make a complicated decision if they distract a bit before that. Participants of their experiment received a list of automobiles with all advantages and disadvantages of each represented model. They had to estimate the quality of cars basing on that data.

One group of participants had some time to think over their marks, while the other group completed a task that had nothing in common with their primary goal. As a result, the second group put more objective marks for the quality of cars. 

Carnegie-Mellon University scientists confirmed this result. They tracked brain activities of participants with the help of functional MRI equipment. What they explored was that people make decisions while thinking unconsciously. Brain zones responsible for unconscious thinking go on processing the data even when you distract.

Helpful Distraction

Put simply, you can watch kitten videos on YouTube and think over mathematical problems simultaneously. If you distract from your main task to do something not connected with it, then you help your mind to reduce mental load and help yourself process the info easier.

Yet here is one more important thing: the “distracting” task should NOT be connected with your main task somehow. So, if you are busy writing an ecology essay, you should go in for sports to distract effectively and to let your mind rest. If you need to solve a math problem. don’t sit still assembling puzzle pictures, go for a walk and distract.

Another cool thing for students is to pay attention to inspirational pictures. But they don’t need to have something in common with your life. That is why it is not worth visiting social media while having a studying break. After seeing someone’s vacation photos, you can only get sad.

If you want to make your distraction bring you benefit, don’t look at “successful” photos of your friends posted on Facebook. You’d better watch some pop-science on YouTube.


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